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Vettel: "Ridiculous" downforce won't make up for heavy cars

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Vettel: "Ridiculous" downforce won't make up for heavy cars
By:
Co-author: Roberto Chinchero
Apr 8, 2020, 8:20 AM

Sebastian Vettel says Formula 1's "ridiculous" amount of downforce at the moment still cannot make up for the current generation of cars being too heavy.

F1's car weight has shot up under the turbo hybrid era, with the arrival of the Halo in 2018 also helping contribute to the cars now topping 746kg.

And while the huge power levels and car performance is helping smash all-time lap records, Vettel still thinks the weight needs to come down.

"I think the cars are phenomenal in terms of downforce: and it's ridiculous how much downforce we have and how fast and how quick the cars are in medium speed, high-speed corners," he told Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview.

"But in low speed you can feel the weight. That's something you know when you throw the car from one side to another in the chicane or hairpin.

"The cars are, in my opinion, they're too heavy. I think we could get rid of some of the downforce, we don't need it, but rather have the cars lighter. Overall, we would still be the same lap time, probably even faster."

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Vettel thinks that even not taking away some of the safety improvement that have been introduced in F1, it would be possible to get them close to the 600kg weight they had a decade ago.

"It's the direction that happened because of the power unit and all the extra that comes with it," he said.

"Obviously some of it is safety measures which you don't want to go back on, and it is right. I mean, the Halo alone is like 10 kilos. You could do it maybe a bit lighter, and still be as strong.

"What I'm saying is some stuff probably is fair, that we have the kilos. Other stuff? You can debate. But I think it's worth remembering it was a great feeling to have 600-620 kilos only. Now the minimum you get to is 750kg."

Vettel likens the feeling he would like to get from F1 of how easy it is to manoeuvre karts.

"It's a completely different feeling, you know," he said. "If you step to a go-kart obviously the thing that surprises you most – because you don't have so much power – but if you take the ratio, what surprises you most is the weight.

"It's the fact that there's so little weight you can manoeuvre the go-kart and be... in comparison very, very quick.

"Obviously you have no aero, so you're not fast enough. But that's a little bit what we're missing. This playing around feeling, you know. Because there's the inertia of the mass and you just feel it."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel Shop Now
Teams Scuderia Ferrari
Author Jonathan Noble